GAUDI! Jamie and I woke early to take in a few sights. I have had a lot of fun the last two days, but felt as if I needed to see more of the city. Our first stop was Gaudi’s famed Park Guell. Originally planned as a high end housing development, the project flopped and there are only a few homes there; one of which Gaudi lived in for a while. This work is all from the modernisme period, and gives Barcelona a unique personality. The whole scene is incredible, really like nothing I’ve ever seen elsewhere.
After taking an additional tour of Gaudi’s house, we happened upon different areas of the park and enjoyed more excellent music. I could write an entire post just on the music we’ve seen. I’ll just let the pictures do the talking, and maybe post a video.
Our next stop was the Cathedral in the Barri Gotic. Being Sunday, there was a mass going on which prohibited us from going in very far. I doubt the security guards liked my shorts either. I’m glad we went because were able to knock out all of our souvenir shopping in just one store nearby, yielding me great leverage and an impressive array of Catalonian memorabilia.
At 13h [1PM], we met up with Alan and Michelle over at the Ritz and took some time to lounge by the pool. Alan was quickly turning pink so we grabbed lunch, in the shade, over in the port. I have to say, the Italian food around here is pretty good. Now onto the real meat of our day.
Brightside offers motorcycle tours of the city in a sidecar motorcycle. I have to give major props to Michelle for planning this excursion, as this has been the coolest activity of the trip thus far! The company is fairly new and the owner, Joao, arrived on one hack [sidecar motorcycle] with one of his employees to run the other. As she was, well, a she, I let Alan climb behind her and Jamie and I rode with Joao. He had an easy going manner that kept the tour very engaging as well as educational. Much of the art and architecture in Barcelona is a political statement of Catalonian independence and intended to symbolize that this is NOT Spain, but an independent state.
The three helmets we used are equipped with blue tooth headsets making conversation very easy. Safety? The Ural sidecar is based on old technology that his been somewhat modernized, so we felt quite safe, and the vehicle rarely climbed above 35 mph. Jamie was nervous at first, but quickly felt very at ease and I think she took a liking to our guide. OK, so he was Portuguese and rather handsome, so I can’t blame her. We all enjoyed getting to know one another and learning about the business. If you come to Barcelona, this is a MUST DO. And maybe there will be one in San Francisco soon…
It felt like we went everywhere, not just the tourist attractions. The route was customized based on our interests and what we’d already seen. We saw the Gracia district, olympic stadium, the ‘block of disagreement,’ Gaudi houses and Montjuic, once home of the Jews [Juic]. We also stopped in the Raval and Borne district, all in 3 hours. I took a million pictures!
Our day ended on a sad note though. Just a couple of days ago, word arrived from home that Jamie’s Aunt Debbie had been checked into the hospital in critical condition, and we got the email informing us that she had passed away. Aunt Debbie loved to travel and had inspired us with her own tales of world adventure. We will carry her fun-loving spirit of adventure with us for the remainder of the trip and on many more in the future. Fare thee well Debbie Williams.
Jamie needed some quiet time, so I [reluctantly] left her in the room with carte blanche on the room service menu, usually a big no-no on our budget travels. I strolled the boardwalk taking in the last night of the Busker Festival, but it wasn’t as much fun solo. Did I mention how great the dang Busker Festival is?? I should organize one of these in the states.
As a threesome, Alan, Michelle and I went to dinner in Barcelonetta. Our destination, El Ramon, had plastic-y menus and shitty service and I was in a foul mood. Thanks to my cousin and Mich for their patience with me. They let me get up and walk out and relocate our dinner to Vaso de Oro, were the service was as spicy as the patatas bravas.
Time was, we would travel and I would actually plan a solo event to break up the 24/7 contact and give me some room to breathe. But after almost 5 years together, I just wound up missing Jamie and felt kind of sort of hollow without her that evening. I was home by eleven and found her fast asleep. I was happy to see her get the rest she so needed.